WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer warned Sunday about the threat of violence at the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, especially in the aftermath of last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol by thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump trying to block Biden’s ascension to power.
Schumer, soon to be the Senate majority leader, said he spoke with FBI Director Christopher Wray on Saturday “to urge him to relentlessly pursue the mob of violent insurrectionists, incited by President Trump, who attacked the United States Capitol and killed a police officer, as well as guard against potential additional attacks.”
Schumer said, “The threat of violent extremist groups remains high and the next few weeks are critical in our democratic process with the upcoming inauguration.”
Similarly, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, in a letter dated Saturday, asked acting Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf to extend the three-day period for the national security designation currently surrounding the inauguration to a two-week period starting Monday and extending to January 24.
Bowser also asked Wolf for other unspecified “direct federal assistance” to plan for the quadrennial inauguration, federal law enforcement help during the inauguration so the city’s police force can tend to normal patrols throughout the city and daily FBI threat briefings throughout the inauguration period.
The mayor said she wants the federal Interior Department to reject requests for public gathering permits throughout that period.
She said her requests were “essential to demonstrating our collective resolve in ensuring the constitutional transition of power.”
Trump announced Friday that he would not be attending Biden’s inauguration, which would make him the first president in modern history who will not attend his successor’s swearing-in.
Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend, as will former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt who is overseeing Biden’s inauguration told the Missourinet website that he spent time Thursday reviewing FBI intelligence reports on the attack on the Capitol. He said the smaller inauguration crowd, prompted by COVID-19 restrictions, will be easier to handle than the more typical 200,000 attendees.
And the Secret Service, which is leading a team of law enforcement agencies in providing security for the inauguration, issued a statement Friday that it has been working for more than a year “to anticipate and prepare for all possible contingencies at every level to ensure a safe and secure Inauguration Day.”
Law enforcement personnel were overwhelmed as thousands of Trump’s supporters stormed into the Capitol last Wednesday trying to block congressional certification of the Electoral College vote showing Biden had defeated Trump.
Several lawmakers, including Democratic Senator Chris Murphy have questioned how law enforcement could have missed warnings of the coming attack. He told NPR on Friday that, “you didn’t have to be on the dark web to know that something really terrible might happen on Wednesday.”
And calls for similar protests are continuing online, Twitter said in a statement Friday.
“Plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021,” it said.
Just as numerous Trump adherents had called for the protest on social media accounts, similarly, there are calls for more demonstrations as Biden is inaugurated as the country’s 46th president, in an event organizers are calling a “Million Militia March.”
Some organizers, calling themselves “common folk who are tired of being tread upon,” are also calling for an “Armed March on All State Capitals” for January 17, three days ahead of the inauguration.